Your confidentiality is important and the trust that comes with confidentiality is key to building a successful working relationship. I am therefore making this confidentiality undertaking before you get in touch so you can be assured that any information I may receive as part of your initial approach will be treated in an appropriate manner.
When I first get to meet you (even if in reality we "meet" electronically) and before any formal contract is in place, I will give you a formal undertaking to maintain the confidentiality of any information you provide to me. I am also happy to sign any confidentiality agreements that your lawyers would like to suggest (provided I can have an opportunity to review the agreement before I am asked to sign it).
If you do get in touch with me, then I undertake to maintain the following confidences.
- All contact between us is confidential. The fact that you have contacted me will remain confidential.
- Any exchanges we have about potential projects are confidential. These exchanges include any form of communication between us, including (without limitation) face-to-face discussions, telephone conversations, emails, and other written exchanges (including faxes).
- My involvement in the project (and at the discussion stage, my possible involvement in the project) is confidential.
- Any information that you pass to me, or that anyone passes to me on your behalf, or that I find as part of my research, will remain confidential.
- At no time during our working relationship will any information be passed to anyone else without your prior agreement. So for instance, if we work on a book, you will be the first person to see the draft and it will not be passed to the editor, agent, or publisher (or anyone else involved in the process, such as your manager or agent) without your prior consent.
A few other things to remember about confidentiality
From my perspective, I need to maintain the highest standards of confidentiality to maintain my reputation. For me, confidentiality isn't just a matter of ethics, it's a matter of whether my business survives or not.
I'm not a journalist looking for my next commission from an editor and neither am I looking for a bit of scandal to sell to the tabloids. This freedom from conflict of interest is another assurance you can have that I will maintain your confidentiality.
If you engage me, then I am the person who will do all of the work and so your confidential information will not be passed to other staff within my organization (since I don't have any) or sub-contractors.
This confidentiality undertaking will remain in force unless it is superseded by a further agreement between us. If you do decide to work with me, then I would expect there to be a contract in place which would include confidentiality provisions agreed between us (and your lawyers, if appropriate) and which would replace this confidentiality agreement.